2015 doesn’t quite appear to look like expected by Semco Maritime, but that is not going to make the company turn its back on its home grounds – the North Sea.
Fortunately, it is not an everyday occurrence for Semco Maritime to be forced to reduce their staff of good employees, but the autumn of 2014 saw reductions definitely not being part of the company’s visionary strategy, First Choice 2015. Its scope was for Semco Maritime to grow bigger, more resilient to changes in the market and more profitable, but to CEO Steen Brødbæk work on the strategy is far from wasted, even if some of its details have been somewhat scratched.
“Basically, we have succeeded in quite a lot of our plans for the future. That goes for globalization and our strategy for addressing various niches and segments. But one thing, we did not to a similar extent succeed with was execution and risk management of the project management of some of our activities, so we shall have to turn the spotlight a bit more on them. We do not know yet how much of our strategy we may be forced to change,” states Steen Brødbæk, who would like to add purchasing of other activities and companies to the plans for internal growth.
“That part was planned to add a considerable contribution to us, but there, too, we did not quite succeed as expected. It needs two to tango, but the companies we found interesting felt they were worth more than we found prudent to offer,“ states Mr. Brødbæk who was looking, too, at more distant markets as a part of First Choice.


This part of the plan was to be based on the key business in the North Sea till now having accounted for some 70 percent of the company’s turn-over, and even if at a time the plan was interpreted as an indication of Semco Maritime downgrading its traditional hunting grounds in the North Sea in order to upgrade areas like the Middle East that was far from the idea.
“It takes a long time to get established in the Middle East, and it makes no sense to us to transfer resources from the North Sea to that area. The Middle East is a most conservative market where in 2014 we had a turnover of some 30-40 million DKK. We have been there since 2004, and 2014 was our best year ever in the area, so it is quite different from the North Sea which, obviously, is much more relevant to us. Through the latest
Steen Brødbæk and Semco Maritime still believe in the North Sea as their core business area. 20 / SEMCO MARITIME


Semco Maritime still has major projects in the pipeline, but the next couple of years may see adjustments to a hesitant market.
couple of years we have had considerable success in Asia and the US, so they will continue to be growing markets to us. Buying Inmaco – active in fire fighting – has improved our opportunities for growth in Asia,” explains
Steen Brødbæk expecting the home market to be a more challenging place to profit from in the years to come.
“Well, several of our customers are rattling their swords talking cost reduction, and even if we do not quite know what that will mean in the short run, obviously some projects will be cancelled or postponed. We expect to be hit by the dropping price of oil, but on the other hand there are some major projects requiring an unchanged level of maintenance. Under all circumstances we have adjusted our level of staff in Denmark and Norway as we here foresee a decline in the traditional market for oil and gas.”


This is new tones from the ambitious company, but it is not putting the First Choice 2015 strategy to rest even if the market has changed quite a lot.
“We still have major projects to see to, and it is important that we improve our way of controlling our allocated jobs. Our model for control has to be top standard, and this is where I see our main challenge. In general, however, I believe we shall take an optimistic look at the future,” states Steen Brødbæk, whose hands are not shaking even if 2015 is looking like a tough time for the oil and gas business.
“We still expect there to be an increasing need for
For Semco Maritime the future looks green and black.
fossil fuels for another number of years as nobody can succeed in producing the sufficient amount of “green” energy required. It is a paradox that the drop in oil prices reduces the profitability of the “green” energies, but whatever happens, to us the future is green as well as black,” concludes Steen Brødbæk who – just like everybody else – is closely following the development.
“In many ways this is a new situation in the market as the drop has not been caused by for instance a war in the Middle East, and most people had expected the price of oil to increase due to an increasing demand. But some parameters were taken into account – the Americans suddenly produce considerably more oil and gas, and the global consumption dropped, but our branch has adjusted to such a situation before, and it is something we shall be able to live with for the next couple of years,” explains Steen Brødbæk who is still holding on to the North Sea and First Choice 2015 – even if the world now and then has a tendency of changing a bit.
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